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Experts in Our Midst

Unlocking the Potential of Diaspora Staff in the NHS: THET's Diaspora Network for Global Health in Action

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1 in 5

NHS staff in the UK report a non-British nationality

Yet, the expertise and cultural knowledge of diaspora staff is often undervalued and underutilised. The persistence of unconscious bias and systemic racism present obstacles to fully harnessing the unique perspectives and experiences of diaspora staff in global health.


The NHS must center inclusion and race equality in its leadership and decision-making, ensuring the UK’s health system is fit for the future, benefitting fully from the wealth of knowledge and expertise in our diverse healthcare workforce.

Recognising the Contribution NHS Diaspora Staff Make to Global Health

In partnership with NHS organisations across England and Wales, the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) has established its Diaspora Network for Global Health. The Network aims to harness the knowledge diaspora staff have of other health systems to develop practical solutions that improve health service delivery in the UK and overseas. Building on the recommendations outlined in THET’s 2021 policy report Experts in Our Midst, the Network strengthens existing diversity and inclusion strategies within NHS organisations whilst also providing enhanced ESG credentials that help to retain, develop and promote diaspora leadership.


Modern diasporas are ethnic minority groups of migrant origins residing and acting in host countries but maintaining strong sentimental and material links with their countries of origin.

Through its partnership with NHS England, THET has been able to award several Diaspora Volunteering Fellowships for Health Partnerships, which have been instrumental in capturing and promoting diaspora expertise and leadership, supporting the links staff working in the UK have with their countries of heritage. These fellowships have enabled diaspora staff to engage in global activities and lead projects in Kenya on nursing leadership and development in surgery and maternity departments, and in the Philippines on strengthening diabetes care and support in isolated and disadvantaged areas of the Visayas Islands.

As we build momentum, The Diaspora Network for Global Health continues to grow, expanding its reach to various NHS Trusts, Health Boards, diaspora networks and organisations across England and Wales, fostering events that unite diaspora NHS staff in a shared mission of global health collaboration.

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Celebrating the Voices of the Experts in Our Midst

Storytelling is at the heart of all this work, with a focus on platforming diaspora perspectives from across the NHS. Central to this initiative was THET’s Diaspora Staff and Global Health survey, which received 685 responses. Designed to capture the knowledge of overseas health systems and understand how this knowledge is being applied to health at home in the UK, and at home in countries of heritage, THET’s survey data has been coupled with comprehensive focus groups and interviews which are a centrepiece of the “Voices of the Experts in Our Midst” report, launching December 2023 in England and January 2024 in Wales.

Click here to read the England ‘Voices of the Experts In Our Midst’ report.

Click here to read the Welsh ‘Voices of the Experts In Our Midst’ report (English language).

Click here to read the Welsh ‘Voices of the Experts In Our Midst’ report.

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Experts in Our Midst: Recognising the contribution NHS diaspora staff make to global health

Our latest pivotal report explores the contribution NHS diaspora staff make to global health. Composing 15% of the NHS’ workforce, their expertise, knowledge and leadership are often overlooked, and as a result, the NHS risks losing its global reputation at a crucial time.

Experts in Our Midst explores the broader current context and promotes the marginalised voices of diaspora NHS staff within the wider, often hostile, environment. We know diaspora NHS staff have always played a valuable role in Health Partnerships. What we did not know was the scale of their engagement, the challenges faced, nor how best to amplify their voices to demonstrate the impact diaspora can have on global health projects.

Read our latest ‘Experts in Our Midst’ report here.

How to get involved

Connect with THET’s Experts Team for more information about this programme and how to get involved: Sawdah Mohamed, sawdah.mohamed@thet.org.